Happy Wintersday everyone! This merry one-shot is part of a collection of stories CoT’s authors made for the festive season as a present to you and all our readers. You can find all the one-shots on the Wintersday Collection 2012 page, or just click here. Have a safe and happy holidays!
“Get your toy sword skin today! Ugly wool socks are taking too much space in your inventory? Exchange them today for a gift or two!”
Everyone in Lion’s Arch gathered to make a copper or two this time of year. It’s very festive, everyone looks happy, but it also feels oh so very commercial. The asuras in particular seem to think purely about business. Why are they gathering those ugly wool things anyways? Are they going to make a giant wool golem? Hah! Now that would be funny. W.O.O.L. Wonderous Organic Offense Lamb. Or something. I’ve never been good with golem names. They scare me.
Lion’s Arch usually is warm and humid, but today, I can feel cold waves of winds coming through the asuran machines. There are snowmen all around, decorations, trees, gifts… I’ve always wondered why we gave gifts to one another during Wintersday, and what is up with the mistletoe thing? When I was growing up in Divinity’s Reach, my father always used to tell me to avoid those things. That if he were to see a boy kiss me under that ‘dreaded plant’, he would take him to the Skritts and ground me for the rest of my life. My father was a good man and he liked to joke around, but something told me that he wasn’t kidding back then. Today, I don’t think he could care less. The world has many threats and I feel he stopped caring. He stopped fighting. He realized his little girl grew up to be… To be… What am I, really? A tomboy? A woman craving for adventure? A grown woman yearning for more than just a shining knight and many kids…
I’m not going to find a shining knight anytime soon anyways, seeing how I’m stuck with Vainard. I could walk away, pretend I don’t need him anymore, but I do. He’s been teaching me so much about the elements, more than I’ve learnt in school. He’s been protecting me, along with Halfear, even though he barely knew me. He knows so much about me already, and I practically know nothing about him. Sometimes I wonder why he stuck with me ever since Shaemoor was overran by centaurs. It’s this one thing I’ll never understand; one minute he’s taking a hit for me, the next, we’re going on adventures around Tyria. Why? I’ve never really asked. I just don’t know how to ask.
Lion’s Arch is simply beautiful during wintersday; everyone seem so cheerful, decorations make the place look less commercial, kids are running around with rosy cheeks and it’s just a good feeling all around. Everyone looks happy but Vainard. You would think it would be the opposite seeing how he is usually so cheerful and happy, but even Halfear is paddling around with his ears low on his head and his tail almost tuck between his legs. So, I did what I thought would cheer him up a little. A bit of a snowball fight wouldn’t hurt, right?
Right across the head. The snow splattered in all directions and left his hair all messy and wet, partly stuck to his face. He stopped walking and slowly turned around to face me. I was all smiles and giggles and pointed at him.
“You should see your face!” I laughed, bending down slightly to catch my breath.
It was hilarious. For some reason, snowball fights made me laugh just like when I was a child. I guess Wintersday festivities make it so cheerful that you go back to your childhood and do all those crazy things again. But when I calmed down, wiped the tears from my eyes and looked up to Vainard again, he was already walking away.
“Hey! Come back here!” I ran to him, my boots sending snow back behind me with every steps. “What’s up with you?”
He stopped for a minute and shook his head, the snow still splattered across his head from the snowball I had sent him. I raised my hand to wipe the snow away but he stopped it, grabbing my wrist with a strong grasp. His face… He was frowning. He would hardly ever frown, not even when annoyed with me. It caught me by surprise and I just stood there, eyes widened in shock.
“Stop it.” he started. “You’re acting like a kid.”
He let my wrist go, well, more like pushed it away, and turned around once again. With his arms folded, he resumed his walk to the inn and kicked snow as he was going, Halfear following him close behind him. I had never seen him act this way. Something was bothering him so much, and I couldn’t make it. So, I decided to let it go. Clearly he needed some time for himself, but that didn’t stop me from spitting a “Jerk!” to him.
“Clearly a snowball to the head wasn’t the best idea to cheer him up.” said a little voice, coming from behind.
Oh. Right. I had almost forgotten that she was still with us. Boxxa. That snarky little red hair asura. “Perhaps you should have asked, instead of sending him a cold, wet ball to the head.” she continued, oh so annoyingly.
“As if you know what’s best for humans to deal with each other.” I returned and looked down at her. “And how come you didn’t ask before I fired that snowball to him, instead of letting me do it, if you think that wasn’t such a great idea, huh?”
“Well… I figured it would be more amusing than having to deal with his problems. We’re not in Lion’s Arch for a group therapy. We are here to find Meili and gather her in our krewe. She knows where the Heart of the Destroyer is.” Boxxa explained, reminding me for the hundredth time.
Meili Shihong. Known as one of the best thieves to roam Tyria and, quite conveniently, Boxxa’s long time acquaintance. She is of canthan blood and I am told a few hundred years ago, canthans had the best assassins around. However when the dragons blocked the way to Cantha, very few made it through. Today, when you see someone of canthan blood, you can almost count yourself lucky. Well, I’m taking about humans, here. The Tengu don’t count. To come back to Boxxa, I know she is asura, but somehow she knows a little too much about canthans and their descendants. Honestly, I didn’t care much for her quest, but we did owe her. So I rolled my eyes and decided to follow Vainard to the inn. It was getting late and a little cold.
“Hey! Where do you think you’re going?! We’ve got to find her now!” she almost screamed. I could detect a little bit of fear in her voice.
“Listen.” I started and turned back, but then forgetting about what I was about to say.
Boxxa was wearing a fur coat, complete with the most ridiculous hat I’d ever seen. It was covering her hair and falling limp across half of her tiny grey face. When did she change so quickly? Wasn’t she wearing her normal armor?
“What happened to your clothes?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.
Was I imagining things? I was sure she was wearing something else. She looked at me, raised a brow and just shook her head, clearly making it known that I’d became senile.
“What do you mean, my clothes? I’ve been wearing these ever since we entered Lion’s Arch! Honestly, do you pay attention to anything at all?” Boxxa threw her arms in the air and walked past me, directly going to the inn.
“I thought you wanted to find Meili? Why–” I was interrupted by a smack across the head. A wet, cold smack.
When I turned around, the culprit was already running away. Kids. Well, Norn kids to be precise. They are very accurate with these snowballs. I wiped the snow off of my hair and turned back to head towards the inn. Boxxa had already disappeared.
“Great. Forgotten during the most festive time of the year.” I wasn’t surprised. Just a bit sad. So I decided to enter and take it easy.
A fire was crackling softly in the hearth. Only a few people were sitting at tables and exchanging stories. I headed to the bar, ordered a drink, hoped on a stool and sat there. It was supposed to be very festive, so why was I feeling so gloomy? After a few gulps, I asked for my room, but the Inn keeper shook his head to say no.
“What do you mean, no? Just tell me which room my friends are in. I’ll join them.” It was getting annoying.
“We don’t have rooms here, missy.” He answered, a little bit confused.
No rooms? I stood up, placed my drink on the counter and headed upstairs. Tables. Tables upon tables, but no rooms. “What is going on here?”
I searched deep and low for a room, but I couldn’t find one. I ran back downstairs where everyone was looking at me with very confused faces and I made my way out of the inn, or well, tavern. So where did Vainard and Boxxa go? I ran across Lion’s Arch in search for them, screaming their names, whistling for Halfear, but no signs. I was going crazy. What was going on? The trading post, the bank, the crafting stations; my friends were nowhere to be found. What had happened?
It took me hours before I went back to the inn I was at. Boxxa, Vainard and Halfear were there, sitting at a table near the Hearth. “What in Grenth’s name?” I said as I walked to them.
“Where were you?! I was looking for you guys all over!” I was a little panicked because they were looking at me like they didn’t know me.
“Um… We were right here, the entire time. What took YOU so long?” Vainard asked, petting Halfear under the chin.
“I came in here, there were no rooms, you guys were gone… What’s going on here?” My head was buzzing. The room was spinning.
“We were in our room. It’s number 5. Are you sure you didn’t drink anything suspicious?” Boxxa said, but I ran upstairs to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.
Doors upon doors. All with a number on them. My heart was racing, I was going crazy. Either that or something was slipped into my drink. So I made my way to door number five and opened it. Right in front of me, he stood there, a smile plastered across his face.
“I’ve been waiting for you, hero of Shaemoor.” My eyes widened. “C..Captain Thackeray?” It was Logan, in all of his majestic self. Standing there and holding out a hand to me.
“O-kay… That’s not weird at all…” I was trying to make sense of everything, and I was now sure that someone had spiked my drink.
“What’s weird is that you’ve been standing under this mistletoe and haven’t kissed me yet.” he replied, and leaned in to press his lips against mine.
I was in shock. My hallucination, as awesome as it was, was kissing me, and I could feel it. The warmth, his arms around me, the depth of the kiss. This wasn’t just a normal mistletoe kiss; it was the full blown real thing, worthy of a hot and steamy continuous course of action. I was flustered. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do but to give in to my hallucination. It felt right. But when I opened my eyes, it wasn’t Logan anymore, it was Vainard! So I broke the kiss, stumbled back and fell flat on my behind.
“What?! Hey! Stop stepping into my hallucinations!” I blurted out and he pointed at me and started laughing.
I couldn’t figure out why he was making fun of me but when Boxxa appeared next to me, she wispered something in my ear that made my cheek flush a blood red colour.
I jumped up, everyone around me were laughing, I was trying to cover myself but to no avail. So I ran downstairs, tripped on the stairs, fell into snow and laid there, next to a snowman. Halfear was already licking my face, that crazy wolf. His dog-breath was so bad that I tried to push him away from me but he was so strong I couldn’t budge.
“Get off me!” I started yelling. “Stop!”
“Halfear! Get off of her!” I could hear Vainard shout.
And suddenly, I was warm. No longer naked in snow but covered in a warm, furry blanket but also with dog saliva. “YUCK. ARGH. NASTY.”
Vainard was laughing, back to his old self and was restraining Halfear from licking my face anymore. “Are you okay? You had a very agitated dream.” He said, and that’s when I realized that it wasn’t hallucinations, it was just a dream.
“A dream… The mistletoe was just a dream…” I was a little disappointed, but knew that Captain Thackeray couldn’t have chosen me to kiss under the mistletoe.
“Mistletoe, huh? Awww, is Naveen feeling a little kissy kiss kiss sentimental this time of year? Is it all the festivities?” Vainard started, already annoying the mists out of me. “Wanna kiss me?” he continued, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Shut up.” I replied and turned around, covering my face with the warm blanket.
Even though I was annoyed, a smile was parting my face. Perhaps just a little kiss wouldn’t hurt anyone, later tonight…